Healthy Winter Skin
Winter may be the worst time of year for your skin, particularly if you suffer from an underlying condition like psoriasis or eczema. Blowing winds, extreme cold, and dry, indoor air can dehydrate even the most balanced skin. Trick your skin into thinking it's spring with these moisture preserving ideas. Switch up your moisturizer. Try an oil-based (rather than water-based) moisturizer. For areas like the feet, elbows, and hands that often become irritated, chapped, and split, use an ointment-style moisturizer containing 80% oil to reverse extreme dryness. Turn down the heat when you bathe. A hot shower may warm you, but it wears out your skin. Skip a day between showers or baths and keep the water temperature lukewarm. Always use sunscreen. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, the reflective power of the sun is 80% on snow. Even when grey skies seem to overshadow the sun, its rays are still around to dry out your skin. The Academy recommends you apply a heavy layer of moisturizer that contains SPF 30 before going outside during the winter Protect your hands. Your hands' thin skin is especially vulnerable to winter dryness. Between the weather and the increased need for frequent handwashing to protect from the flu, your hands can easily become red, chapped, and cracked. Always wear gloves outside and be sure to moisturize throughout the day. Don't let your body stay wet. When you get wet outside, be sure to dry off fully when you come indoors. Leaving cold, damp, clothes on for too long will dry out your skin. Humidify your home. Sleeping next to even an inexpensive drugstore humidifier will bring some needed moisture into the air. Your skin (and sinuses) will thank you! Save treatments until the spring. Thinking about a chemical peel or retinoid therapy? Hold off a few months, or your side effects could be worse. Your epidermis is already dry and the new skin you'll expose will be harder to keep in peak condition. Wear layers. Particularly for people with eczema, the cycle of irritated, itchy skin can be perpetuated by the constant temperature changes that you encounter moving from outside to inside. By shedding and donning layers as necessary, you can maintain balance which will be better for keeping skin hydrated.